The institutionalization of identity: Micro adaptation, macro effects, and collective consequences

  • Ian S. Lustick
  • Dan Miodownik
Research Forum: Computer Simulations of Political Identity


Constructivist approaches to the emergence and stability of collective identities are now widely accepted. But few of the assumptions of constructivist theory regarding repertoires of identities and their mutability in response to changing circumstances have been examined or even articulated. The article shows how different conditions of a fluid and changing environment affect the stabilization or institutionalization of an identity as dominant within a polity. We used the Agent-Based Identity-Repertoire (ABIR) model as a simulation tool and confined our attention to relatively simple identity situations. Strong evidence was found for the emergence of identity institutionalization, the existence of a “crystallization” threshold, the effectiveness of divide-and-rule strategies for the maintenance of an identity as dominant, the efficacy of a network of organic intellectuals, and hegemonic levels of institutionalization. Thresholds leading to hegemony were not observed. Preliminary results from experiments examining more complex identity situations have been corroborative.


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© Springer 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian S. Lustick
  • Dan Miodownik

There are no affiliations available

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